I had a lovely weekend celebrating my brother’s wedding and thanks for the nice messages! Although i’m feeling quite flat now and tired (I NEED SLEEP), I am just about ready to jump into the joys of Madrid and another action-packed week of tennis. Sunday produced one of the best schedules of tennis so far this year; it simmered for the most part although there were some interesting results. Alize Cornet produced the upset of the day, beating Simona Haleps in straight sets with a terrific performance, her best of what has been a disappointing 2015 season. Wins continue to elude Eugenie Bouchard as she was defeated in three sets by Barbora Strycova in a classic WTA scoreline, 0-6 6-3 6-3. In the most anticipated of the first round matches in Madrid, Victoria Azarenka secured her second win over Venus Williams with a confident 6-3 7-5 victory. Azarenka wobbled a tad in the second set as Venus’s striking became sharper. Venus was up a break in the second set, but could not hold on with Vika levelling up and then producing a great return game to break to love in the final game of the match. Let’s take a look at what is in store for Monday in Madrid…
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Garbine Muguruza (Madrid, R2)
Second round action in Madrid will begin on Tuesday with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Garbine Muguruza first up on the Manolo Santana court in what will be a first career match-up between the pair. Both players enjoyed routine openers in Madrid; Muguruza lost just two games to fellow Spaniard, Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, while Kuznetsova caused an upset dropping just three games against the number eight seed, Ekaterina Makarova. Kuznetsova had lost her first match in Prague last week to Shuai Zhang but demonstrated that she is always one to keep an eye on on this surface even when her recent results have been poor. Kuznetsova and Muguruza are located in a now seed-less section of the draw after Sam Stosur ousted Angelique Kerber on Sunday and furthermore, a quarter that no longer holds Simona Halep. This presents notable opportunities for the winner of this match. Neither player has been convincing in the last few months, particularly Kuznetsova. As there is little data to go on for this match, i’d have to go for the player I have more confidence in right now…
Prediction: Muguruza d. Kuznetsova in 3 sets
2. Andrea Petkovic v Irina-Camelia Begu (Madrid, R2)
My favourite match from Sunday’s schedule featured Andrea Petkovic who defeated Flavia Pennetta, 6-3 7-5 in a high quality first round contest. Petkovic served out the match at her second attempt as Pennetta produced some stern resistance at the end. The Italian player had fought back from a break down with a mini-revival in the second set; however it was Petkovic who quickly regained her control of the match. Overall, it was a superb performance from Petkovic, particularly coming in the first round against a tough opponent as the German player is renowned for making slow starts. Petko had some good results after Australia, notably winning Antwerp, but her level of tennis right now is significantly higher. Petkovic’s second round opponent is Irina-Camelia Begu, who defeated Kurumi Nara in the first round. Begu’s results have been more than respectable this year although as i’ve mentioned before, she does have the tendency to be very erratic. Right now, Petkovic is playing very consistent tennis and I think she will be tough to beat all week in Madrid if she keeps up her first round form.
Prediction: Petkovic d. Begu in 3 sets
WTA Madrid 2nd Round Predictions
Serena Williams d. Sloane Stephens in 2 tight sets
Caroline Wozniacki d. Christina McHale in 2 sets
Agnieszka Radwanska d. Casey Dellacqua in 2 sets
Alize Cornet d. Roberta Vinci in 3 sets
Lucie Safarova d. Tsvetana Pironkova in 3 sets
Sam Stosur d. Kaia Kanepi in 3 tight sets (finally back-to-back wins for Sam?! This could be a nailbiter.)
Poll results: 15% of readers correctly predicted that Stosur would beat Kerber, 47% correctly predicted that Kuznetsova would beat Makarova, 60% correctly predicted that Sharapova would beat Bacsinszky, 66% correctly predicted that Strycova would beat Bouchard, 59% correctly predicted that Petkovic would beat Pennetta and 49% correctly predicted that Azarenka would beat Williams.